As a facility operations or warehouse manager, you know how important it is to keep your line running. We don’t have to tell you that. Another top priority is making sure your line is running at its peak efficiency. When your line is running more productively, you have more reliable operations, fewer shipment issues and more raving clients. Use these tips to get on your way to running your operations like the well-oiled machine of your dreams.
Productivity Tips for Your Warehouse
1. Improve employee comfort.
Are your employees standing all day? Have you heard them complain of foot and joint pain? Standing on a concrete floor for hours a day can be painful on your feet, ankles, knees and back. When your employees are aching and miserable, they probably aren’t focused on doing their jobs most efficiently. Take care of your employees. Look for ways to add a little comfort to their workstations. Maybe a padded mat for the floor or a fan if your facility gets hot. Studies have shown that music helps morale and productivity, plus it can help pass the time.
2. Simplify key procedures.
Are there processes in place in your facility that have more steps than necessary? Complicated processes with too many people involved decreases your level of accountability. Find ways to streamline, use less paperwork and manage fewer handoffs. Whether this process is inventory, labeling, packaging or others, see if there are ways that you can simplify. The fewer people and less time involved in a task, the less it costs your facility. Plus, then you can reallocate employee time and attention to other tasks.
3. Get your packaging and supply shipments organized and standardized.
Do you have standard shipments coming in of the products, packaging and other supplies you use the most? Are you manually ordering these things each time your inventory is running low? Talk to your supplier and see if you can set up automated shipments or backups of stocked inventory at their facilities. You never know when you are going to have a surge in productivity or unexpected mishap causing you to need supplies fast. Don’t let your packaging hold up your production.
4. Outsource your IT department.
For the price of one full-time employee, you can outsource a team of expert technicians available onsite and virtually through a helpdesk. A team of experts is better than one, don’t you agree? Plus, when you have more than one person servicing your facility, you can be sure the most effective systems are being run and you won’t have to worry about down days from technology issues. Someone is always available to fix your issues and brainstorming ways to prevent them.
5. Incentivize employees.
No doubt you’ve set goals for your production or other key performance indicators (KPIs) for the week, month, quarter and year. Have you communicated those to your employees? Are you tracking your progress overall? If you are, great! Take it one step further and track your KPIs for each employee and offer rewards programs. Motivating your employees is part of being a manager, and running and efficient warehouse.
6. Make sure management sets an example.
If you want your people to be more productive, make sure you are setting an example as their leader. Be present in the day-to-day operations and be consistent. If you are complacent about certain tasks, your team will notice. Set priorities with your employees and communicate well. When you lead by doing you show that everyone is being held accountable. Respect can go a long way in your facility.
7. Don’t skimp on equipment and technology.
Saving on equipment in the beginning may seem like a good idea, but long term, that may come back to bite you. Sure, you could save money by doing inventory, time tracking or delivery management on spreadsheets rather than buying a software program. But is that scalable? Is that reliable? Are you really getting the data you want from your current system? And what about the equipment your team uses every day? If you don’t have the right tools in your facility, how can you expect to be productive? Improve your productivity with the right software and hardware, the cost will recoup quickly once they are implemented.
8. Ask your employees what they need to be more productive.
Your employees on the floor know best what works and what doesn’t on a micro level because there are in it every day. They may have great insight into opportunities to be more productive. Plus, making them feel heard can go a long way towards boosting morale… which is a great productivity booster as well.
At Conitex Sonoco, we like to look at the big picture when we are working with our clients. We know that packaging is just a part of your operations, but we want to make sure we hold up our end for you. With our stocked inventory, online tracking portal, quality assurance process and shorter lead times, we can make sure your packaging doesn’t hold up your production. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us!